Caffeine co-dependency 

As much as I’m getting used to my new job, I am so so SO not used to the hours. 

Would you believe me if I told you I’m the first one to the office every morning? Cause I am. And it’s weird. Real weird. 

I’m still figuring out the flow of things at the office and attempting to manage my time at home. Last night I went on a crockpot meal spree and had potato soup in the crock (pot?) in the fridge to cook today and there are 5 meals bagged in the freezer. And then today I did two loads of laundry, paid bills and organized some cabinets. Who am I and where is procrastinator me?

Another challenge has been bedtime. The local news station was promoting a kid’s book that’s supposed to help children fall asleep. Totally thinking about buying it for myself. Or maybe just adding a glass of red wine to my nighttime routine. 

But seriously. Some days last week I popped right up at 7:45 and was fine. One day I woke up at 6:17 and couldn’t make myself go back to sleep or get out of bed — the worst. The only standard to my morning is to make coffee the minute I walk in the door. I don’t even turn the lights on first because it isn’t safe to talk to me that early. 

And, because I regained with a cake, I felt it appropriate to start my new job with these. 

  
I’ve been so overwhelmed with God’s goodness the last two weeks. The people and opportunities He has placed in my life are so much more than I deserve. That’s the beauty of grace — when I’m questioning His plan for my life (and believe me, I meltdown-ugly-cried-called-my-mom-in-the-fetal-position questioned), He reminds me it’s not about where I am and what steps I take. It’s about who I am and whose footsteps I’m following. 

Advertisements

The high dive

There was a water park not far from where I grew up called Point Mallard. We would occasionally go in the summer with friends, Girl Scout groups or with family. It had a wave pool, a couple of water slides and, or course, two tall diving boards and a towering platform. 

With my first day of a new career path less than 13 hours away, I feel a little bit like I’m on the edge of that middle concrete platform, daring to stick my toes over the edge of the concrete to peek at the water below.

The deep end of the pool is kinda like this big change in my life. I’ve been in the water before. I know what it feels like and I know how to float, swim and enjoy everything it has to offer. 

But from 30 feet above, it’s more than a little intimidating. The first jump is the hardest. 

What if I forget to stay straight and my arms slap the water? Should I hold my nose? How do you know when to take your last big breath and hold it?

I’m on the edge of that platform as I set three alarms to make sure I wake up on time. I’m peering ever so slightly as I plan my new morning routine that involves LOTS of coffee. 

  
In the morning, I’ll jump. Falling is the easy part, so I guess I’ll figure everything else on the way down with a little help from gravity. 

I may flop and flail the first time, but I know I’ll be fine in the water. Afterall, I’ve been taught how to swim and I have a lifeguard who won’t let me drown. 

Girls beach trip 2015

Apparently we’re making this an annual adventure. I don’t hate it. 

   
    
   I met the girls in Birmingham Thursday night, got sunburned and made guacamole Friday and we chowed down at The Steamer in Gulf Shores on Saturday. 

Sunday brought a few showers, which we enjoyed on the beach, then a beautiful rainbow. We went to Cosmos that night and left just as the power started flickering. We watched a storm roll in and tried to take lightning photos on our phones — not an easy task. 

Of course we stayed up too late and abandoned our plans of cooking dinner, but it was a great escape from work and responsibilities and real pants.

3 days and 7 states

Remember that one time I visited my brother but really just went to Harper’s Ferry, D.C. and NYC in three days?

Yeah, me either.

Except I kinda do.

The weekend was honestly kind of a blur — I can’t believe I did so much in so little time!

I took a half day off work Friday and headed to the Greenville airport, and Clark picked me up in Baltimore around 8. Amy was basically immobile (thanks to Ben and Jerry … and being eight months pregnant) so we didn’t do much. I watched some weird nature shows with Clark until he went to bed, and then watched more weird nature shows after he went to bed. Night owl probs, man.

on the way to Baltimore

When I finally crawled out of bed, they had already eaten breakfast and we set our adventure time for 11ish.

We spent the day walking around Harper’s Ferry and visiting the shops and museums in the town, which has been preserved pretty well despite some serious floods from the Shenandoah. We ate at Private Quinn’s Pub, which was a little bit of a letdown, but the people next to us had a cute dog so it was alright :)

Most of the buildings have been turned into exhibits to show how they might have looked in the 1860s.

The back of this building is missing?

Model of the land when battle broke out

When we got home, we played Ticket to Ride. I lost terribly and Amy basically wiped the floor with our faces. That’s all you need to know about it.

After church Sunday, C&A dropped me off at the train station and I took a bus to the next stop (they were working on the tracks, so free shuttles were provided) and headed to D.C.

My main reason for going was the Newseum. It’s a news museum and covers the coverage of history’s greatest events and how the media impacts lives. Basically it was awesome and I needed more than four hours — good thing the tickets are actually 2-day passes!

Newspapers around the world submit a pdf of their front page to Newseum every night. Newseum picks a top 10 online and posts one from every state and a few countries outside for passersby to read. Charleston had the SC box occupied :(

Berlin wall display, complete with a 300-foot guard tower on the east side. You’re looking at the west. The east side was painted white to make it easier to spot those trying to escape.

A glass elevator at Newseum will take you to the top to enjoy this view of Pennsylvania Street (Avenue?). The Capitol is on the far left.

150-year-old New York Herald reporting details of Lincoln’s death. It put out seven issues in less than 24 hours — unheard of then.

The names of all journalists who have died reporting, dating back to the 1800s

My phone died while I was using it as a GPS to walk to the train station, so I missed the train I wanted — luckily they come through often. Thanks to my handy travel charger thing, I got back on the right track and was only tailed by one hobo! I was pretty prepared though, my boots could have handed it to anybody ;)

I will admit I was ill-prepared for this trip. When I looked at the forecast while packing, it said mid 60s, so I thought jeans and shorts would work. But then Monday I found out that New York City is basically always cold. Seriously. Does it ever warm up there?

I took a Bolt Bus ($23 for the trip) from Baltimore to NYC, took the (wrong) subway to Rockefeller Plaza and met my friend Demetrius just in time to use my Jimmy Fallon tickets. We stood in line forever and caught up on life and discussed our plans for the evening.

We were in the third row!

The guests on Monday were Robert Downey, Jr., Fran Lebovitz and the Zac Brown Band. The show didn’t even seem like a full hour, which is weird … because it is.
Demetrius MADE me go to Times Square since we were so close by. I was a bit hangry because I hadn’t eaten anything except string cheese and crackers since breakfast. But “you have to do it while you’re here,” so I did.

Look. Times Square. I did it.

Side note: When your tour guide was recruited to be a photographer for the mayor’s office, all the pictures look infinitely better. Even the dorky ones of you begging to leave Times Square because you smell food.

See what I mean? (📷: Demetrius Freeman)

A quick train ride brought us to Union Square, where we ate at The Coffee Shop. D said it wasn’t touristy, but the food was average at best, so I’m not sold on it. Honestly, it may have been that everything wasn’t deep fried and covered in butter…

Anyway, after food I was in a MUCH better mood, so we headed to the southern end of the peninsula, grabbed Starbucks because I was cold, went to see City Hall (where D works … and had an extra jacket) and then the 9/11 memorial.

Inside City Hall. 📷: Demetrius Freeman … again

Having just been to the exhibit at Newseum with its 9/11 exhibit, it was super surreal. Newseum houses part of the antenna from one of the World Trade Center towers, I can’t remember which one. It also has dozens of front pages displayed from Sept. 12, 2001 when America was still reeling from the attack.

The eeriest part of the exhibit were the photos from a photographer who ran to cover the plane hitting the first tower and died when the second collapsed. The family was able to salvage his film and shared the last moments of his life with everyone. There were no words for that.

The new World Trade Center tower

There were also no words for the two fountains that stand in the footprints of the two former towers with names of the deceased circling the seemingly never-ending water feature.

We went around 8 p.m., so the fountains were lit and the skyscrapers all around were just starting to shine. I can’t say for certain that’s the best time to go, but I think it gives the display an extra layer of beauty.

9/11 Memorial

After the memorial, we walked across Brooklyn Bridge — again, just to say I’ve done it. Y’all, that’s a long walk. In fact, New York City is lots of walking.

Pro tip: Don’t wear your $12 Target sandals. And bring a jacket.

Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge. Not in the picture are Lady Liberty to the left and Times Square to the right.

By the time we FINALLY crossed the bridge, we had to head to Penn Station so I could catch a train back to Baltimore. All in all, I was there 7 hours. The weekend was almost like an out-of-body experience, especially looking back at Manhattan all lit up with the Statue of Liberty to my left and a friend I hadn’t seen since 2013 on my right.

I hopped on the train back to Baltimore — and had a police escort me out of the station thanks to all the riots going on — went to sleep, woke up and got on a plane back to SC. After a nap I went back to work and tried to pretend my feet weren’t throbbing.

So that’s that. I figured I should write everything down before I forget it all. May is full of adventures! I’m heading to Jacksonville, Florida this weekend to see Tessa and attend her second annual Derby party. The first one was in Texas, so I couldn’t quite make it. Anyway, I guess I’ll unpack my suitcase with jeans and long sleeves and throw in some shorts and swimsuits!

Cabinet trial

In an effort to get the fridge out of the middle of my kitchen, I’m painting the cabinet above it. This way I won’t have to worry about moving it again until it time to put down new floors!

I landed on these colors:

Mystic Sea it is!

 

The tealish color will be on the bottom, Swiss Coffee on top. As if I didn’t love the color enough, it has coffee in the name. Sold. 

Two coats in

I planned to paint the trim last night and today, but yesterday’s volleyballing left me a liiiittle sunburned. Moving hurts. 

I spent a good while napping with the pups on the couch. 

 

  They were worn out from making so many new friends at the park, and I was worn out from getting sunburned. 

We even had a little family movie night :)

Don’t be fooled, they only watched commercials.

 

I have to be at rehearsal every night this week, the puppies go back Wednesday and my friend, Tessa, is coming up this weekend. But hopefully somewhere in there I’ll be able to lift my arms above my head to paint the trim. 

Also, the puppies discovered how to unroll toilet paper today. 

My nightmare

And they’re currently shredding a napkin in the living room floor, but my legs hurt too much to take it away. 

They’re the worst puppies in the world. And I’m gonna miss them so much 😭😭

Kitchen schmitchen

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a functional kitchen … but I apparently love playing with puppies more. 

Monday night I hurried to Lowe’s in Anderson to grab the last on-sale Shop-Vac. It’s half-off for the next few weeks, but after sanding the walls and Claws knocking down a bunch of my seeds…I needed backup. 



Right over the vent. Seriously?

So I vacuumed the potting soil and spackle dust, washed the walls and slapped on a layer of primer. I had the rollers in the fridge from the last time I painted in the kitchen and managed to get them switched. There are a few gray streaks on the walls, but it’ll all be gray eventually anyway :) 



You can’t tell a difference, but I definitely scraped snd scrubbed a BUNCH of nasty off those walls.



I’ll try to get it painted this week, but being home before dark means I wanna play with puppies. And after that I wanna do nothing. Maybe by the weekend…



This is my new bff, Sherman the Shop-Vac! (and my other bff vanilla coke)

Once I get the fridge out of the middle of the kitchen, I’ll move on to the bigger section of the wall+backsplash area. The fun part will be trying to wash, dry and put away all my dishes so they don’t get nasty…I miss my dishwasher 😢 (Yes, Momma. I know I have two at the end of my arms.)

Take a hike! …or don’t 

After spending most of Saturday at Mary’s while the puppies played with Luke, I couldn’t resist another day outside. 

The weekend weather was sunny and in the 70s, so after rehearsal, I grabbed the pups and headed to the mountains. (Did I mention I’m in a play? I’m in a play.)

I chose Stayion Cove falls because it’s a short, popular trail. I’ve seen plenty of dogs here — Luke came with me once! — so I knew it was canine-friendly. 

We got out of the car and the puppies immediately hated their leashes. Awesome. We then met Seren, a 2-month-old St. Bernard mix. Lincoln was interested for a second and Coral hid the entire time. 

This hike was off to a great start. 



Want a cute picture of both of us? Fat chance.



I let them down to sniff around for a bit, but they were not interested in any forward progress. They only wanted to head back to the car. 

So I carried them. 



…are we supposed to walk this ourselves?!



I would put them down periodically and try my luck, but leashes are of the devil, apparently. My best approach was carrying Coral with Lincoln a few steps behind. He’s my fearless pup, so I knew I could count on him. 

After a dozen stops to explore, sniff and play, we made it to the falls. It was pretty chilly in the valley. Despite daylight saving time, the sun was already past the mountaintops where we were, so we didn’t stay long. 



Sit still? Huh?

The return trip was a little better since they were ready to be back in the car from the get-go. I put them down and walked away and they followed for about 20 feet at a time. 

Then I’d pick them up again and repeat. I think Coral might have fallen asleep in my arms at one point. My goal was to get them to walk the last 35 or so feet of the trail. Lincoln was by my side and Coral was off attacking a pine cone when she heard a noise and took off running. 



“If we stop walking, I bet she’ll come back to pick us up again.”

She ran straight to the family behind us and immediately began jumping up on the mom’s leg to see if somebody would pick her up. 

They did.

Within a few minutes of being back in their kennel, both pups were passed out cold…and I did all the work!



If they weren’t so cute…

—–

Puppies got vaccinations at animal control on Wednesday! Coral was 3.8 lbs (hovering at 4) and Lincoln 3.6. We’re transitioning from canned stuff to kibble since they have no problem eating Claws’ food. 

The animal control officer told me I’ll have them another three weeks, so we have plenty of adventures left :)

Fosterhood

Remember when I used to sleep in until 8:30 every day? Sometimes even 9?

Ah, those were the days. I’m writing this from the hallway floor with one puppy in my lap trying to chew my fingers and the other using my feet as a jungle gym. 

Oh, sleeping in. Those were the days. 

Last Wednesday our photographer came back from a shoot at the animal shelter with a picture of two little guys she was going to try to find foster homes for. Since they were tiny and young, their risk of getting sick was extremely high, which increased the likelihood they’d be put down. 

We couldn’t have that, now could we?

So I asked my editor if I could go get them — only one of my pages wasn’t laid out, after all. He didn’t see why not, so off we went to nab some puppies. 

Lincoln, the brown one, and Coral started off their adventure in my guest room/office. I laid down a vinyl tablecloth and surrounded it with furniture. Fort Puppy was breached a few days later. I was alerted by Coral’s barking — a rare occurance — and found Lincoln happily prancing around the room. 

So I began barricading the doorways. I put the pups in the hall to give them more room to run and play, which tires them out very quickly. That’s a HUGE plus. 

They leapt over one barrier Saturday, and Sunday as I was in bed trying to catch some extra Z’s, I heard a whine followed by scratching followed by a flop. After the pitter patter of tiny feet sounded too close, I rolled over and saw Lincoln headed my way. 

Oh, brother. 

I grabbed the puppies and headed to the couch. They tend to not whine when they’re with me and they’re too chicken to jump off the couch.  Claws came and snuggled, too, which is CRAZY since he’s scared half to death of the little nuggets. 



The Journal’s photographer — who got me into this mess — is bringing me a baby gate so I can lock them in the bathroom. Hopefully that’ll work because they try to eat everything in sight. This includes everything from fuzz to wallpaper to Claws’ food. 

I am still trying to make progress on the house, but I am continually distracted by the adorableness of these two. The fridge is in the middle of the kitchen so I can scrape the walls around it…but I’m maybe 30% done. Whoops. It’ll get there. 

I’m supposed to have the puppies for three more weeks, and I’m sure they’ll get adopted fast since they’re so dang cute. They’ve met other dogs — including Ava who drooled all over Coral and Luke who couldn’t care less — and been around several small children. They’ve been to work, girls’ night and not the living room. They’re hilarious outside because the grass is so tall and they’re so short. 

Their favorite toy is an empty paper towel tube or a sock, despite me buying two $5 ones at Petsmart. 

They’re also big fans of leaves. 3/5 times they potty on their puppy pads when I’m not looking, they’re getting better at climbing stairs and when they get sleepy, they go to their kennel. 

I have been awake around 7:15 every morning since Friday. Bet y’all never thought you’d see the day, huh?









Their names are based off The Walking Dead, and I have decided any future fosters will have tv names as well. 

Snow days are slow days

Technically all Seneca really saw was a nice layer of ice, but it’s enough to put the entire county on pause for a day…which means work is really slow and I can post new pictures of the house!

I (finally) decided on a color for the kitchen walls. I’m down to three choices for the bottom cabinets, which will be a fun aqua/teal, and the top will be white. Ish. Off-white. Not quite cream.

It’s a work in process.

I went with the paint on the right. I was scared it was too light, but it actually looks OK on that wall. I've got more scrubbing and scraping to do before I paint the rest of the walls.

I went with the paint on the right. I was scared it was too light, but it actually looks OK on that wall. I’ve got more scrubbing and scraping to do before I paint the rest of the walls.

The hallway has been painted, thanks to leftover paint from Claire’s house. I mixed a few from its previous owners and came out with a generic hallway tan that was roughly the same color as the top. It was pretty painless, I just hate cutting in around all those dad gum doors.

The only part that sucked was it was suuuuuper hard to tell where I had already painted. Whoops.

The only part that sucked was it was suuuuuper hard to tell where I had already painted. Whoops.

Shout-out to Claire for the free paint! It needed a bit of stirring...

Shout-out to Claire for the free paint! It needed a bit of stirring…

Mid-mix. So pretty :)

Mid-mix. So pretty :)

Alas, it’s done, the toe molds have been removed and I’m hoping to paint the trim and lay the new floors this weekend. They’re the same ones from my room and will eventually be in the kitchen and bathroom as well.

Just as a reminder, this was the before...

Just as a reminder, this was the before…

Aaaand the after. Crazy different, right? Not. Oh well. At least it looks clean.

Aaaand the after. Crazy different, right?
Not. Oh well. At least it looks clean.

I’m so pumped to have covers on those light switches. Y’all don’t even know.

I haven’t taken any pictures of the living room, but I’ve gotten all the boxes out of there! Now it’s just a matter of decorating the bookshelves and the walls. Truth be told, after all the time I spent patching, repairing and painting that stupid paneling, I don’t want to risk messing it up…

While I’m contemplating kitchen things, the countertop paints are on my radar. I’m thinking the actual “countertop transformations” kit will be a bit much, but the $30 plain paint doesn’t seem awful. So we’ll see. If I decide soon, I may end up painting the kitchen and laying all the new floors at once. But for now, I’m iced in at the office :)